If you are trying to file a wrongful death lawsuit, there are many factors that you need to know. Each U.S. state has different rules regarding wrongful death. Ask any Louisiana personal injury lawyer to learn more about the specifics in Louisiana. At Laborde Earles Law Firm, our lawyers can explain a few of the basics.
First, it’s important to know exactly what qualifies as wrongful death. A wrongful death is when a person dies due to the fault of another person or entity. It doesn’t matter if it was purposeful, due to negligence, or an accident. An individual’s family my file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation from the individual or entity at fault. It’s like a personal injury case, except the individual is not available to file the lawsuit, so the family can instead.
Not just anyone can file a wrongful death case. The law in Louisiana states that a surviving spouse or children of the deceased individual can file a case. If there is not a surviving spouse or children, the surviving parent may file. If there is not a surviving parent, then the right falls to a sibling of the deceased. If there are no surviving siblings, then the surviving grandparents of the deceased person. In the event that there are no surviving family members, the deceased individual’s estate may take the claim to court. In some cases, a criminal case may be filed on the same facts as a wrongful death case. For example, if a drunk driver hits and kills another person, then a criminal or wrongful death case may be filed. The difference is that a criminal case is filed by the prosecutor’s office and a wrongful death claim is filed by the individual’s family. If convicted in a criminal case, the defendant is punished with jail or prison time, fines, or probation. In a wrongful death case, the punishment is strictly monetary. Contact a wrongful death lawyer to learn more about filing a case.